Realtor Roulette …

the most expensive game in town and how to avoid playing it.

Realtor Roulette…like all games of chance, can be costly. This game involves what is, most likely, your greatest financial asset: the equity in your home. When you sell your home, you put the stakes – that equity – into the hands of a licensed Realtor. The Realtor agrees to sell your home to your best financial advantage within a definitely prescribed length of time.

If the Realtor you choose to serve you is without the highest qualifications of the profession, he or she, for numerous reasons may fail to sell your home within the time allowed. At this stage of the game, you have lost valuable time and time is money. Disappointed, you spin the ‘Realtor wheel’ again, hoping for better service and better luck.

This time, another Realtor may affect your sale. But the job is more difficult. By now, your property is no longer ‘fresh.’ Its exposure on the market may have raised questions as to its value by prospective buyers. Obviously, you are at a definite disadvantage but the game can go on…and on. Each time you play until your home is sold, you lose.

Bruce Jay Associates aims to help you avoid playing Realtor Roulette. Guidelines are presented that can help you choose a professional Realtor who can sell your property at Top Dollar the first time around. With this knowledge, you should never have to play Realtor Roulette. For it’s a game in which nobody wins.

Q. What are a Realtor’s obligations to you?

A. The Realtor you choose to sell your property is obligated to work
on your behalf not only to locate the most qualified buyer but also
to avoid innumerable problems and obstacles that can arise in
negotiation and sale.

Obviously, your Realtor should be expert and experienced in drawing up legal, binding contracts which protect your financial interest. Equally important, the Realtor should be adept at keeping your buyer eager and confident that he or she is getting satisfactory value for the purchase money. Nearly all buyers are torn between desire and apprehension at making such a major financial commitment. A good Realtor understands this dilemma and constantly builds the buyer’s assurance.

Your Realtor must be experienced in handling scores of other critical details. Getting the most favorable loan commitment, handling inspections and attending to long lists of other requirements, major and minor that are obligations which must receive acute attention. The very best Realtors accomplish this quietly, conscientiously and unobtrusively. A professional avoids making ripples, let alone waves. If the job is done well, your experience in selling should be enjoyable as well as rewarding.

Rule #1: Hiring a professional, experienced Realtor is your best defense against getting into the costly game of Realtor Roulette.

Q. Who is the best Realtor in my home’s territory?

A. Quite simply, the best Realtor you can hire to sell your property is
the Realtor who specializes in home sales in your general locale.

Recently, many Realtors have become large multi-office conglomerates, or merely franchise owners of a particular real estate office. They work on a city-wide or state-wide basis. Only a few have in-depth knowledge of a single area. These Realtors, while professionally qualified in many ways, lack the extremely important understanding of characteristics which are unique to a particular area.

For instance: the area sometimes referred to as ‘The Golden Quadrangle’ runs between Beverly Hills and the Los Feliz District, including the Hollywood Hills and the South Valley. No other area in California or in the nation is quiet like it or has the variety of architecture, terrain and lifestyle. It is internationally famous; ‘one-of-a-kind.’

Once a prospective buyer decides upon this area he or she senses immediately whether the Realtor has intimate knowledge and a ‘feeling’ for it. The buyer much prefers to work with someone comfortable, familiar and knowledgeable – a specialist. So the buyer responds quickly and confidently to the experienced Realtor and your sale is effected faster.

Rule #2: Choose a Realtor who specializes in selling in your home’s locale. Your odds for a fast sale are much better.

Q. What kind of individual is best for my home sale?

A. The qualities that attract you about people attract your home’s buyer. An intelligent, mannerly, presentable salesperson gives you a great advantage.

The best Realtor for your sale is the one who knows how to sell your kind of home. He or she, from experience, is quick to observe outstanding as well as subtle advantages: location, privacy, convenience, view and amenable neighbors. Buy the same token, the superior Realtor also recognizes disadvantages inherent in every home and is prepared to present your property so that the good things win out in the prospective buyer’s mind.

Prospective buyers, of course, feel obligated to be very critical, hoping to arrive at a selling price advantageous to them. An expert Realtor is well aware of this and is practiced at ‘accentuating the positive.’ Indeed, one of the hallmarks of a really successful real estate salesperson is his positive, businesslike, creative enthusiasm.

Ask yourself if you genuinely like your prospective Realtor; if he or she is attentive, knowledgeable, pleasant and diplomatic, as well as representing an established Realty organization, you stand a much greater chance of getting – and being a winner in the sale of your home.

Rule #3: Choose a Realtor who understands how to sell
your kind of home and appreciates that, for you,
the stakes are high.

Q. Where is the Realtor’s office? What’s it like?

A. These questions are more important than you might think. Buyers are put off by a real estate office that is too large and impersonal. Neither you nor your prospective buyer should take this impression away after having visited the Realtor’s office.

Since offices, like homes, reveal a great deal about the way in which the people who inhabit them work and live, there is a happy medium. A pleasant, conveniently-located office, says a lot about the Realtor. If the atmosphere is busy, but not frantic, orderly, but not dull, chances are that you are dealing with a successful organization staffed by true professionals.

And a word about success: today’s accomplished Realtor must be prepared to invest a considerable portion of his profits in his staff as well as his quarters. He must promote his inventory, advertise and conduct effective, on-going public relations. Most of all he must involve himself with and in the community where he works and makes his living. So he is very much concerned with his quarters – proud of how they work, look and serve the people who live in his area.

Rule #4: Don’t gamble with a Realtor whose offices don’t reflect the quality of his service.

Q. How can I be sure of what my home is worth if I sell?

A. This critical question should read, ‘How can I be sure of what my home is worth when I sell?’ Your home, regardless of its size, location, condition or architecture, fluctuates constantly in prevailing market value. In recent years, the selling prices of property – like the prices of all other commodities – have spiraled upward constantly. However, there is no guarantee that this trend will continue and no reputable Realtor will tell you (or even imply) anything of the kind.

The most certain method to determine the selling price of your home is to call in a Realtor who is aware of home values in your neighborhood on an on-going basis. By law, he or she is obligated to sell your house at the price most advantageous to you. Moreover, achieving this goal is most advantageous to the Realtor because it results in a larger commission.

Overpricing your home and insisting upon the price will certainly delay the sale. Other homes in the vicinity will sell at prevailing prices; the overpriced home remains on the market. Prospective buyers, in the face of such a significant investment, usually do intensive comparison shopping. The fairly-priced offering, priced consistently with similar properties in its locale, is a winner and is generally sold quickly in today’s home-hungry market.

Rule #6: To determine your home’s selling price, call a Realtor who is aware of the value of similar property in your own neighborhood.

Q. Why are some Realtors more successful than others?

A. Essentially, the successful Realtor can attribute accomplishment to two factors: ‘People’ and ‘Push.’ The ‘People’ part of the formula: individuals, who are selected with extreme care, to join the Realtor’s firm. Once chosen, they should be rigorously trained (or re-trained) in appraising, selling and recognition of the unique characteristics of their selling territory. They should be full-time personnel, not dabblers in the profession. A successful Realtor continues his workers’ training, seeing that they constantly garner current information about trends in marketing, appraising and selling.

All this is backed up with ace office personnel: management, executive coordinator, secretary, general duty service and other functionary personnel who help lift performance to its highest level.

‘Push’ can be defined as creative marketing expertise and the drive behind it. Successful Realtors make advertising their largest budgetary expense. They also are constantly searching for more effective marketing techniques which involve them in community activity and development. More than anyone else, the successful Realtor should know ‘what’s going on’ in the community where he or she works.

Finally, successful Realtors and their staffs do their ‘homework’ on every individual listing, learning both positive and negative aspects of the property in order to emphasize property strengths while playing down weaknesses.

Rule #7: For best and fastest results, deal with the Realtor who has many years of success to their individual name. There is no substitute for experience.

Q. Why not sell my house myself, and save the commission?

A. The best way, by far, to get into Real Estate Roulette and its inevitable losses, is to try to sell your home on your own. No one but a trained, licensed Realtor can possibly foresee and handle the intricacies involved in a real estate exchange. Many ‘self-sellers’ discover to their shock that, to save a commission, they have actually under priced their property in a sale and could have netted more profit by paying a Realtor the commission. Moreover, the amateur seller seldom knows how to play up the qualities of property and play down its faults. This keeps the property on the market for extended periods.

Frequently, when a friend learns that you intend to sell your property, he or she will say, ‘Listen, as a favor, why don’t your let me work with a Realtor I know?’ Beware. Your enterprising friend will assuredly be paid in addition to the Realtor fee by complicating negotiations and thereby delaying the sale. Your Realtor much prefers working with you, personally, without interference from outside parties who have little to gain while you have everything to lose. Remember, your relationship with your Realtor is as personal and private as your relationship with your attorney or your doctor. Involving friends in such a partnership can often lose not only significant amounts of money – but the friends, also.

The old expression, ‘Every shoemaker to his own last’ applies, particularly, to selling real estate. If you’re not aware of real estate sales procedure, don’t risk selling property by yourself. Your Realtor is well worth the commission.

Rule #8: Don’t count on ‘beginner’s luck’ if you sell your home, yourself. Hire an experienced broker.

Some Comments about the real estate ‘game.’

Buying and selling homes, contrary to what you may hear, is not a game. A licensed real estate broker is committed to handling the money of other people, sometimes vast amounts which represent the bulk of life savings. A dedicated Realtor should be as trustworthy, discrete, diplomatic and well trained as your family doctor or attorney.

Selling or buying real estate should be an orderly, rewarding and pleasurable experience in which everybody gains. The price of the property should never influence the service received by the seller or the buyer. The seasoned, successful Realtor cheerfully devotes as much time, effort and talent to marketing a cottage as to selling a castle.

We, at Bruce Jay Associates, are proud to be a moving force in the community we serve. We are long-time residents of this unique, delightful corner of Los Angeles. So while these Guidelines identify ways to avoid the game of ‘Realtor Roulette,’ we will hope they also lead you to become not only our client, but our friend.

Bruce Jay